The plot follows Bernard Fine, a fictional character in his 30's who has recently been promoted to senior vice-president of Wolff's Department Store in his home town of New York. Although enjoying his life, Bernie is sent to San Francisco to open a new Wolff's store. Bernie gets a new outlook on life when he meets little Jane O'Reilly, and soon after falls in love with her mother, Liz O'Reilly, a resident in California. After forming a relationship and marrying, Liz becomes pregnant with their first child, only to develop cancer shortly after the birth, given only a short amount of time to live. When Liz dies, Bernie is left with the responsibility of two children, and must take a new lease and have new experiences throughout his life.